Feather your Nest Friday, 10th November, 2023.

Today is our warmest day so far and it's a bit too warm!  Lots of watering the garden and a cold meat and salad dinner tonight.  It was a really busy but good week.   I was able to accompany Chloe and the boys on a trip to the city as she was having a scan.   This scan she found out the sex of the baby!  And... I'm not allowed to tell!  👀   It is a three hour drive to Adelaide and the boys are so good.  We stopped half way for some lunch and they had a run around in a playground then off we went again.

In Adelaide Mum's house had miniature roses flowering!  I was able to pick these and as soon as I got home they went into the freeze drier.

This is how they went in...

And this is how they come out...

They are ready for when I make my annual coconut ice as they look so pretty with the milky pale pink. 

Last Saturday I went to a craft market with Mum.   It was fantastic!  I got so many ideas,  I supported some local people and I noticed the prices on things.   A lady was making waffle weave kitchen towels similar to mine.  She was selling them for $69 a pair1   Also she had waffle weave bath towels... which were $89! 

I took a lot of photos and notes.  We also went out to lunch and I took Mum to a dress shop.  She had a wonderful day.  I did too, it was beautiful!   Now I have some more new ideas for 2024!

On Tuesday I went back to the same town  (as my friend was going to be there)  and so I went shopping and looked through two thrift stores.   And what did I find!?   A Queen bed size quilt cover in waffle weave fabric and two pillowcases.   Once I have this washed up I think I will dye it...  and make bath towels!   😊

I also got two sets of cotton gingham sheets for the girls beds here.  So lovely!  

AND four, as new,  very thick king size flannelette sheets.   They are so plush!  I am going to consider dying some of them as well.  I like to have loads of flannelette for backing baby bibs and on hand just in case I need to make baby nappies (diapers.)   It is so much fabric,  all cotton and probably at well under 50c a metre.

Then I got two big bags full of children's clothes in brands we love and as I wash them I am amazed.  I put away things that are too big for now.   These are the things I buy the boys,  work shirts like the men wear.

There are winter skirts for the girls,  Peter Alexander Pyjamas and other gems.

I also found a lovely book on homemade soaps,  body care products and essential oils.

I picked wild flowers,  these dry perfectly and hold their colour.

In the store I got a big bag of bananas which I am going to make into three banana cakes tomorrow. 

Mum gave me a bottle of Sherry... this will be the grog I use to make the Christmas cakes.   She also gave me a bag of packets of icing sugar.

I wrapped two Christmas presents.   Next week I hope to make order out of chaos and get some more wrapped.

We are seeing a lot of people under stress and interest rates went up again this week.   Housing is harder and harder to find.  Also as this happens building companies are failing at a record rate.   A business that seems to be booming is tiny houses.  Really,  they are like a caravan but with better windows.   Some have been installed locally.   The old days when everyone had a boarder... they are back!  Nan and Pa had a boarder for many years.   So did my Great Grandmother.   A friend of Nana's ran a boarding house and rented out a number of rooms and cooked dinner for all of her boarders every evening.  She was Latvian and the most wonderful cook.   

The market showed me how everyone has a side gig (or several) and the locals turned out to support them which was wonderful!  

Mum is up and running and knitting for the new baby and I have ordered yarn and have a list of things to make.   Tomorrow will be cooler and just as well as I will have the oven on!

I hope you had a good week, where able to build up your home, pantry or garden and spend it with your family.xxx


  1. Dear Annabel and beautiful bluebirds .
    Oh what a lovely week you had Annabel and now for you to keep the sex of the baby a secret for awhile !!!.
    If that was me I'd be bursting to tell someone !
    I've had a busy week of card making .I've made about 20 or more cards this week ,mostly Christmas cards but imade half a dozen other cards as well as the Christmas cards.
    I gratefully received two or three meals off my parents this week and some sandwiches too .
    Back on the topic of crafting ,I might be going to a craft group on a Thursday ,I'll go once a fortnight as a start .I'm not sure if they have room in the class / group for me as the classes are very popular .I'm just waiting to hear back from them .
    I'm looking forward to a weekend of crafting ,movie watching and maybe going out tommorrow but not sure yet .I'd not it will be tea,craft and Christmas gift wrapping and movies .
    Happy weekend bluebirds .
    Love Barb

    1. Dear Barb, Yes I am bursting to blab! Well done on your card making! Your parents are wonderful and a big help with the meals. Craft group would be fantastic! I hope you can go. You will get ideas and enjoy it so much!
      I hope you had a great weekend and have a lovely week ahead! With love Annabel.xxx

  2. Annabel, What a lovely week you have had. Time with Mum and time with your daughter and grandsons, congratulations on the news of your soon to arrive grandchild.

    I had productive 2 weeks, between an apple pie and turning the scraps into 5 jars of apple jelly that is a beautiful pink, to processing a 32 pound pumpkin into 4 jars of maple butter and dehydrating the remainder and powdering it, it all fit into a 24 oz jar.

    We have been trying to buy loss leaders at the stores, with Thanksgiving coming here in the US, we are picking up baking sale items, though this year they are limiting you to one or two of each item. making it harder to get the price, they make sure you need to download the sale coupon to your membership card.
    The clearance and mark down items are far and few between and are mostly on junk foods. Others are cheaper on sale than on the mark down shelf.

    We brought our winter wear down and into the hall closet as we have already had winter mixes of snow and ice. So happy we prepared for winter already and have the house and cars ready, all that is left is to bring the snow blowers up to the house from shed.
    Busy getting bags set for cars with extra clothes, food, drink, etc... Winter here takes more preparing than any other season.
    I am lining up craft projects to work on, including finishing an afghan for my living room.

    Prayers for all Bluebirds and their Families.

    1. Dear Rosanne,
      Well done on all the apples and pumpkin added to your pantry! I hope maybe after Thanksgiving there are sales. We get some after Christmas sales.
      I can imagine winter must take a lot of prep. Experience would be the best teacher. I have never lived in snow and always thought I would be terrified if the snow came up high and covered the doors and windows! Then the house would be a freezer lol. So these are my imaginings...
      Good to have some crochet lined up! Have a good new week! With love Annabel.xxx

  3. Dear Annabel,
    You always find such wonderful things at the Op shops. I can only imagine that the vendor who was selling the waffle weave items may have had to buy the fabric wholesale or retail. Just out of curiousity I priced waffle weave at fabric stores on line and it was very pricey. I'm not sure boarders are coming back here, but I had heard that a lot of folks are using their homes for Air B&Bs, and even in the city their apartments, to earn money.
    We had a lot going on here this wee. Had to have an exterminator out twice for wasps: subterreanan wasps and paper wasps. Then the roofer came out to make sure no wasps had gotten under the roof and into the attic and plugged any breaches that he found. We found a garden snake sunning itself on our patio and hubs got a shovel and relocated it a few acres away. We sprinkled snake repellant around the house and garden. Don't want any creepy crawlies trying to slither in. We replaced our stove last April and had to have a repairman come out as one of the oven functions stopped working. Thank goodness it's under warranty.
    Inbetween all this I did manage to do a little nest feathering. While watching Mary's Nest she had recommended a book called "Scraps, Stems and Peels". It's a wonderful book and has many great ideas and doesn't duplicate recipes or suggestions from other books. I got it secondhand and added it to my collection of
    cookbooks. There is no food waste here. Everything that can be used for meals and snacks gets used. Inbetween everything that's been going on I've been working on Thanksgiving cards. I hope to have them all done today. I will start on Christmas cards this weekend while my husband watches football. We had two hard freezes this week and before they happened we harvested the rest of the garden and put up 3 more quarts of chard, and there are now 18 more butternut squashes curing in the kitchen. I'm looking forward to a nice quiet weekend and week ahead. Wishing all of the Bluebirds a good week ahead. Blessings, Cookie

    1. Dear Cookie, I just have to find this book Scraps, Stems and Peels! Im going to look. Marys Nest is fantastic. I would like to get her book too.
      The waffle weave is expensive here, around $30 a meter. But my way of getting it is so cheap! I have so much to do in the garden and for Christmas I think it will be January before I am really sewing... but thats ok I will look forward to it. And that will be quiet work in the heat.
      Your cards are always just beautiful! I hope this week is going well it is going by very quickly! With love Annabel.xxx

    2. Dear Annabel,
      I found the book on Amazon and bought it used. Cookie

  4. Dear Annabel,

    What a beautiful week you had, with Mum, the boys, your friend, and Chloe - congratulations for the baby! Wonderful emotions for all the family!!!!

    It is amazing what beautiful things you have at thrift stores and, for someone creative or more careful, how many good and useful things one can make.

    Today is Black Friday here and I did not buy anything, instead I opened a savings bank account for my son as a gift for next week, when he will be 18. (equals the big 21 in other countries). It is his time to make a good life and to apply what I was preaching.

    While I see big sales in other countries for Thanksgiving or Christmas, we did not have it here. Instead, the prices will go slightly up before holidays. A study came out yesterday and they shown the inflation in our country compared to other European countries. The period is between september 2022 and september 2023. For example:
    - pork went up for us with 13,7%, / other contries 9%
    - chicken 8,5% / other contries 2%
    - eggs 16,6% / other contries 10,5 %
    - The only product that got cheaper is sunflower cooking oil, by 12% in my country.
    I am glad to be able to cook from scratch and usually I cook simple recipes that I know my boys like and there are no left overs in my kitchen. They are named *food*.
    PS - my golden ladies are hardly laying an egg or two a week, but the young white chicks (Sussex, Bety White and my favourite, Pinky) are still laying almost every day.

    The tragic war in Gaza is everywhere on the news - we had a couple hundreds of Romanians safely evacuated but still, there are some more to help getting out. Lots of Jewish people went to Israel from Romania after WWII.

    The Ucrainean war is going on, with attacks of both parts, still around Herson, Crimea and Zaporizhzhia. Kremlin and Putin are lying through their teeth regarding everything, and sadly, we have a a far-right political party that pick up all they are saying and it rises in the polls - we have elections in eight month here. Good news is The European Union decided to start negotiations with Ukraine to have a membership in the EU. Which is good, as a protection against Russia. It will be more complicated from the agriculture point of view - prices for grains, for example.

    We have lot of rain and cold so, for the weekend, I plan cooking, knitting, maybe painting some more ( I can*t seem to be able to finish my sweet little dog*s portrait), maybe watching some movies. All my flowers pots are in the house or in the cellar, (the dahlias and the gladioli) and the tulips bulbs are planted all over the flower garden, the orchard and the backyard.

    Wishing you all a nice weekend and I am reading with delight and interest all your comments.
    Laura_s_world from Romania

    1. Laura, I am always so relieved to see your posts, because then we all know that you are okay. I really enjoy your posts. I believe that our seasons are the same as we have in Maine. Our chickens have stopped laying also. But the three new Black Marans from this spring have finally begun to lay the most beautiful dark brown eggs. I was so excited to find them. Such a simple joy!

    2. Thank you, Judy, for your concern. We are all right, the fights take place in Eastern part of Ukraine so what we experience for now are daily sirens going of across the border but we hear it, too, higher prices of everything, many Ukrainean people in our country and the farmers strugling to sell their harvest (especially grain) at a good price compared to the Ukrainean grain that enter our country. And the constant threat of the nuclear plant of Zhaporozhya. Thank you again

    3. Dear Laura, I also am always so happy to hear from you and you are ok! Your son turning 18 is such a milestone. It is really good some of your chickens are still laying!
      Both wars are so grim. If Ukraine joins Nato article 5 would be triggered I think or understand... which would mean all of Europe is at war? In the Middle East it seems to escalate daily. My thoughts are that no matter where we live we will be impacted to some degree. But being so close as you are I can not know what that is like. You do a very good job keeping a level head and doing wise things and looking after your family. Thank you for sharing some info on the price increases. Cooking from scratch is certainly a saving but also so much healthier. Your weekend plans sounded beautiful! Now I hope the new week is going well! With much love, Annabel.xxx

    4. Sorry for the late response, I was very busy at work...
      Regarding NATO*s article 5, you are right, but that is NOT the case in here.

      NATO is a military organization and European Union is an economic and political one. Now, if EU supports Ukraine, following Russia's invasion, through political, financial and humanitarian assistance, whilst also imposing sanctions against Russia, is an important step. Ukraine joining the EU would ensure that Russia does not make a further attempt to take over the country. And I feel some more protection, I am horrified about the ideea of Russia again in our country - we have lived 45 years literally under their boots and it was Hell.
      Meanwhile, the war is going on, and there is no ending in site. With all the changes in the world and next year*s elections in many important countries (including ours) 2024 does not look very bright
      Do not publish all these political stuff on your beautiful blog, it is the response for your question. Much love, Laura

    5. Hello Judy, it is nice to see another bluebird from Maine:)

  5. The Roses turned out absolutely beautiful. I am amazed at the beautiful things you can get at the OP Shops. We have two locally and it is pretty much junk or overpriced.
    Days of the borders are back here in a big way. Many people that have property have people living on it to supplement their incomes. Mostly in RV’s . The week doesn’t pass that I see people on FB renting out rooms. Usually $900.00 a bedroom. We living in a very high rent area. There are more homeless on the street as well. A great number of people are one emergency away from being homeless here.
    It was 31* this morning which is very chilly this early in the Fall already.
    I have been gathering wood all summer. I have several cords stockpiled and enough to share with family if they run out. Electricity is very high and most people have their thermostat set very low and wear jackets in the house all winter.
    My chickens are molting right now so no eggs. I went to the feed store to get scratch the other day and I got a bag that was torn and taped up . Very little missing and half off. Now, I know to ask they have the damaged bags in the back.

    1. It is a great tip about the damaged feed bags! It really sounds so much the same as here... rooms are rented and RVs/caravans are on properties and in backyards. They are certainly much better than being homeless. I was able to look inside a friends caravan recently and it was so nice even with a little washing machine!
      Well done on the wood gathering! It soon adds up and will be so valuable. When I go to collect the eggs on the way back I walked under pine trees and I pick up a few pinecones each day. These become my fire starters. They work so well! Thank you for your lovely comment. xxx

  6. I love your week! All good things!

    We have been away at the lake all week and will stay for another. It is wonderful to rest.

    On the news last night they said it costs $743 more each month for he average American family to live than 2 years ago. How can this be sustainable? More and more families are out on the streets or using retirement savings to live on. No matter how careful we are at the grocery store the total just keeps going up. I am thankful for everything I learned on how to live on little long before this crisis.

    1. Dear Lana, Time at the lake house sounds lovely. This is similar to here. Between food, fuel, mortgages, rent etc each household is paying so much more. And now interest rates went up again. Everything we have learned is helpful and we keep on learning too! With love Annabel.xxx

  7. Well, Well…..what a lovely and productive week you’ve had!! Being with family is great!!
    Your craft and Op shop finds are amazing!! You definitely have the touch! And those roses!! Just amazing! So beautiful!! Were there any left for Mum?? 😉
    Been on new meds from my new MD and feeling better! Less anxiety!!

    Donna, however, has had more swollen leg issues. As they were shut down for Covid for 2+ weeks, she didn’t get to or want to elevate or exercise them so now she’s in hospital! We may drive on up after Thanksgiving in Atlanta with our youngest’s in-laws! It’s another day or so but we have a new car!

    Prices and supplies are crazy! Also banking! A fellow in Denmark had his bank question his ATM withdrawals and he said they were for porn (as a joke!) and they put a vice like inquiry and he has to tell what he takes money out for! Watch out! These people aren’t fooling around!!
    Our weather is in a lovely lull, so I’m also wrapping Christmas gifts and sorting some of my many collectables to list on ebay!
    Our youngest mentioned she’d never seen a live production of the Nutcracker ballet so we got tickets as her main Christmas gift! Our older daughter is a Christmas baby and hard to buy for! Of course, she thinks we “over do” it for the younger one! But my granddaughter is getting her bag of bagged items for her Nativity Advent calendar! Always fun!!
    I’m curious: it sounded like you make double layer towels? Lined, you said?? If so, how do you keep them stuck together? Anyway, your week was a great treat on the run up to Christmas!!
    Enjoy your family and I’ll do the same!!
    A wonderful Fall and Blessings to All,
    Rick in Florida and
    Donna in N Indiana

    1. Dear Rick, I am so sorry to hear Donna is in hospital! Please let us know how she is. Yes I make the kitchen towels double fabric. I sew them together then top stitch around. It makes them very absorbent. Tickets to the ballet is a wonderful gift!! Dont get me started on the banks. I am about to pull the plug on one now. Just shocking. My answer is None of your business!! How terrible!
      Safe travels in your new car! With love Annabel.xxx

  8. Hello Annabel (and everyone),

    You did so well with those sheet sets, waffle fabric, and clothes for the kids! Great finds! The freeze dried roses are beautiful.

    It has been a very busy week, so I tried to just work on 1 area each day to build up my home. A baking day yielded muffins, apple crumble, chocolate cake with fudge frosting, and some extra meals for the fridge and freezer. A garden afternoon saw the Greenstalk cleared out (I saved the soil to amend in the spring), all green tomatoes picked before the hard freeze, and strawberries bedded for winter. Nine of my rooted strawberry starts flourished, so hoping for lots of strawberries next summer. The carpets got shampooed and I put together a new work desk for my home office and broke down the old one. I did a big grocery shop and added canned pumpkin, bouillon, pasta, and fruit juice to the pantry. I kept working on crafts as time allowed and finished 1 cross-stitch and my knitted shawl, and painted some pieces for cross-stitch finishing that I hope to do over the weekend.

    My husband is doing ok physically (answered prayers), but he is very low in spirits and reluctant to eat. Right now cold things and small things seem to do well, but I admit I am having trouble with ideas. If anyone has a nutritious or just delicious cold recipe, I would be thankful to hear about it. For the spirits, I made plans to take him and my dad to see the holiday lights display this weekend, and hope that helps.

    I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend.

    1. Dear Kathy, You achieved heaps! I adored your Christmas bird ornaments and thought your desk looked wonderful. I am thinking on cold things... would your husband like little trifles... layers of jelly, custard etc? Tinned fruit can be part of that. Or cold quiche as that is full of calories and goodness. Even ice cream. If he will drink maybe some iced coffee or smoothy type drinks? You are doing. good job trying to keep his calories up. Spirits... that is harder. He is very lucky to have a wife like you! Getting some drives or outings I think is very good. I think animals are good... I am not sure if at home you have a dog but they are incredible to be a companion but they seem to know what you need and when you need it. Christmas lights are a good idea, I love them and I really feel the Christmas Spirit! I hope this week is going well. With much love Annabel.xxx

  9. Kathy, my husband had a very good caprese sandwich at Panera that might work for your hubby. I got some of the leftovers the next day that had been refrigerated overnight and it was yummy, even without the bread (I have a hard time digesting bread). It was plain chicken salad, fresh mozzarella, tomatoes and basil leaves. If these are flavors he enjoys, you could make it as a sandwich or a salad.

    How about a charcuterie plate with meats, cheeses, fresh fruit, maybe some fresh veggies? I never have fancy stuff around but my family loves this with hard salami, whatever cheese I happen to have (usually cheddar or co-jack), grapes, apple slices, whatever. You also could do raw veggies (even just carrots and celery) with ranch dip. Maybe a few pickle slices. Just something to nibble on.

    A green salad with black beans and sliced hardboiled egg is surprisingly good.

    I hope he starts feeling better and that his spirits improve! Best wishes to Annabel and all of the Bluebirds, too!

    1. Dear Maxine,

      Thank you so much for the excellent suggestions - I truly appreciate it, and your kindness, and will try these things.


    2. Great suggestions Maxine, thank you!xxx

  10. We have just today celebrated our four year old grandson's birthday. It was kept simple and easy and clearing up behind was the same. John and I watched a free movie on Prime, Nanny McPhee. Lovely film.
    This week I stumbled on a most excellent purchase of chicken for half the sale price which was more than a fair sale price, stocked up on produce and such, but I took note of the increases ranging anywhere from 50c an item (for in season!) to $2 or $3 per pound depending on the cut of meat you wanted. We are nearing Thanksgiving and with it just two weeks out I've seen only a few turkeys in the stores, though the stores are advertising them on sale.

    Yes, prices are ridiculous everywhere...And while we see few outages, what seems to be 'out' most often is whatever is supposed to be on sale!

    I am so grateful for the knowledge that I have which gives me options. Yes, it's true that I don't do as much as some others but I know that if one source isn't working, I can look to another and another. And all the while I have the opportunity to learn still more skills, even if I'm not yet able to practice them.

    1. Four is a just beautiful age, how lovely! Great to get the deals on the chicken! This is happening here too.... a sale item/good price.... but "temporarily unavailable" etc.
      We can keep learning and be adaptable as you say! xxx

  11. Your roses are so lovely, Annabel! Nice sheets and shirts for the grandchildren. I can't wait to see your blankets and towels when they are finished!
    Our week was very productive! Baking bread and homemade desserts. Canning chocolate pear jam. We harvested many free pears this season.
    I cut my youngest son 's hair. And my 13 year-old daughter cut my husband's hair! Lots of savings with groceries as I have my freezer and pantry already full.
    We enjoyed a Missions Conference at our church, visiting a friend in the hospital, babysitting, and a work day at a friend's house. A week of service and touching lives!
    Blessings to you all,
    Leslie in Ohio

    1. Dear Leslie,
      Thank you! I have washed up all the linens... next I want to dye some. Your thirteen year old cutting her Dads hair... this reminds me, Chloe always cut my Dads hair and she started at a young age. Then it became her job and she was good at it! Well done on your week of service! You will be blessed! With much love, Annabel.xxx


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